Première classe A1 Breakthrough

Pronunciation: The "an" sound

Écoutez les mots. Cliquez sur le mot qui est dit deux fois.
Listen to the words. Click on the word that is said twice.
Cliquez sur la ou les bonnes réponses Help on how to respond the exercice
nbOk correct item (s) selected
nbKo item (s) wrongly selected
nb item (s) still to be selected
Watch out !
Well done !
Conception: Geneviève Briet, Catholic University of Louvain
Published on 04/04/2013 - Modified on 13/12/2019

Pronunciation/The "an" sound

Have you ever tried imitating the way a French person speaks? Have you ever tried imitating sounds that you feel are typically French? What do you think of French vowels? Are they: awful, normal, rather / really beautiful? You don't know? Is the difference between:
son and
impossible, difficult, easy to hear?
dont and
impossible, difficult, easy to pronounce?

The [ã] is a vowel that sounds typically French to foreigners' ears. It is pronounced like the
sound [õ] in
"onze," [ɛ͂] in
"vingt," which is pronounced by exhaling out of the mouth and nose at the same time.
The [ã] sound is the nasal equivalent of [a], a deep sound as if it were coming from the centre of the body, where the plexus is located. The [ã] sound is generally written:
"an" : avance, manger, ordonnance
"en" : accident, dent, médicament, prendre, rendez-vous, urgences
"am" + b/p : chambre
"em" + b/p : remboursement
You can hear it in the following onomatopoeias:
"Vlan !"
Start practising! The [ã] is a deep, non-labial sound, using moderate tension. You can practise pronouncing the [ã] by sounding out the consonants that are pronounced using the same area of the mouth:  

Syllables consonant - vowel

m[ã] - d[ã] - t[ã]

Syllables consonant - consonant - vowel

lm[ã] - fr[ã] - pr[ã]
tr[ã] - dm[ã]

Syllable consonant - vowel - consonant

s[ã]t - p[ã]s - m[ã]d
f[ã]s - s[ã]s - r[ã]t
t[ã]t - k[ã]t
If you tend to pronounce
[õ], think about the
It's also easier to pronounce [ã]: - by not pushing the lips forward -with a rising intonation, question or exclamation - with the "s" and "t" consonants. You can imitate the examples: - when repeating the example, try saying it fast and slow, yelling and whispering it - try repeating in time with the example, as precisely as possible.

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